The Whistle Pigs of Riverside Cemetery

Asheville, North Carolina's famous Riverside Cemetery is just two short blocks from The Lion & The Rose Bed & Breakfast.  Established in 1885, it has over 87 acres of beautiful rolling hills and century old trees.  Neighbors and guests can enjoy the cemetery year round - it's like having a private park at our door step, and it is gorgeous in any season.

Cemetery Dogwood Cemetery in Summer

Many of Asheville's most prominent citizens are buried here:  Thomas Wolfe, O. Henry, Zebulon Vance, and Richard Sharp Smith - to name a few.

Cemetery in Fall

But, our favorite residents of the cemetery are still among the living.  If you look closely as you walk through Riverside you will see mounds of dirt and clay at the entrances of burrows throughout the 87 acres.  These are the homes of groundhogs - also known as woodchucks or whistle pigs.

They are very shy and fast, but if you're patient - you can catch them unaware.  Although they're most active during the spring mating season, they can be spotted throughout all the seasons except winter - when they hibernate.

Groundhog at Burrow Groundhog in Road

Some of them have even burrowed up through the pavement.  The caretakers have tried to plug up the holes in the road with rocks and tar - but the hogs just burrow around the patches.  They are very persistent.

I think it was Thoreau who said that our houses are nothing more than "burrows with porches" - a statement on the commonality we share with our ancient relatives - the groundhogs.

Groundhog in Clover